Sunday, July 19, 2009

Futurism at theTate

I always avoid going to art exhibitions with friends.

First, there's that whole dilemma about whether you should walk around together or not. Second, rather than dutifully look at each painting for 15 seconds, I prefer to spend minutes with the ones I like and ignore the rest, which makes me a bad gallery companion. Third, if I'm with a friend I haven't seen for a long time, we invariably start chatting and forget where we are.

Yesterday, I broke my golden rule and visited the Tate Modern's Futurism exhibtion with two friends from university.

I would like to pretend that we had a culturally enriching experience, but the truth is that whenever I meet up with these particular friends we seem to revert to the age of 18. I'm not complaining. Yesterday I laughed more than I have done for months, but next time we should just go straight to the pub.

However, I did learn a few things about Futurism. The exhibition began, appropriately, with the Futurist Manifesto - a passionate, absurd declaration of war on 'decent society'. One of my friends particularly liked the phrase 'the broom of madness'. I wonder what the Futurists would have made of the Tate's revential exhibition, given their determination to 'destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind'.

We did what we could to keep the spirit of Futurism alive at the exhibition and I hope that Marinetti would have been proud of us.

As for the art, much of it left me cold, but there were a few works that really impressed:

This photo doesn't do justice to the real painting, which had such vibrant colours that it almost appeared to be self-lit.

I particularly liked Bursting Shell, by Richard Wynne Nevinson.

This painting wasn't in the exhibition, but I like it so much I couldn't resist including it.

I've no idea who painted most of the pictures. The best I could do was take photos of my favourites until the attendants told me off. I don't know why photography isn't allowed - I didn't have the flash on.

The final exhibit was familiar, but I couldn't work out why:

Then I remembered - my son's Star Wars 'Battle Droid' has neo-Futurist quailities:

I left knowing slightly more about Futurism than I did when I entered, but not a lot.


The Poet Laura-eate said...

How do you know the Futurists knew a lot?


I suspect they just made it up as they went along.

Max Cairnduff said...

I've been considering this exhibition, I rather liked some of your examples, I'll clearly have to make the effort.

Regarding photography, many folk will use flashes regardless of prohibitions to the contrary (many don't know how to turn them off actually) and the flash damages the paintings.

Also, they sell postcards of the works, there's quite an extensive range of futurist postcards.